Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dont Get Taken Every Time or How to Break Software

Don't Get Taken Every Time: The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car, in the Showroom or on the Internet

Author: Remar Sutton

Now completely rewritten and back in a handy trade paperback edition

Through six editions, this invaluable tool by "Public Enemy #1 of the car dealers" (The Washington Post) has remained the definitive guide on buying or leasing a new or used vehicle. Completely updated, Don't Get Taken Every Time takes readers inside the world of the auto business itself. It exposes hundreds of tricks some dealers use to separate unwary customers from their money. Sutton alerts people to dealer scams on the Internet, tampering with credit ratings, and more. From negotiating to financing, the step-by-step techniques offered here make any car shopper a savvy purchaser.

Ralph Nader

Remar Sutton is without peer in presenting the lures, pitfalls, and price packs that are now part of so many car-dealers' practices.

Clarence Ditlow

Don't Get Taken is...a superb and witty how-to book...of the Web...on your privacy, your safety and your pocketbook. —Center for Auto Safety

Patricia Sturdevant

Don't even touch your computer before reading this extraordinary expose on the new schemes and scams in of automobile sales...

Table of Contents:
A Day in the Life of Killer Monsoon1
Chapter 1What's Happening to the Automobile Business?17
The Bad News17
The Grim Reality No Buying Service Wants You to Know24
Is There Any Good News Out There?34
Want to Stop Other Sites from Tracking You While You Explore the Brave New Automotive World (or Anything else) Online?35
Part IForearming: So You're Determined to Skip the Dealership Entirely and Buy or Lease on the Web?39
Chapter 2Inside the Dealership Family41
Killer and His Family41
Who's Who Inside the Dealerships46
Who are the People Behind Those Web Pages and Online Services?57
Dealer-Controlled Sites and Buying Services57
"Independent" Internet Buying Services58
"Prospect Aggregators"59
Manufacturer-Related Sites60
Sites That Deal Exclusively in Used Vehicles60
Sites That Offer Only Financing or Loans60
Information-Driven Rather Than Product-Driven Sites61
Chapter 3Where's the Money? Understanding Automotive Sales Tactics and Realities62
Well, Just How Honest are Car People?65
The Salesperson's Greatest Talent66
The Salesperson's Favorite Targets68
Profits, Not Profit69
Supply and Demand71
Killer Monsoon's Favorite Selling Techniques71
"Will You Buy a Car Today at Some Price?"72
"If I Can,... Will You?"73
The Sincere Salesman-in-a-Contest Ploy74
The "I'm Salesman of the Month" Routine74
The "I'm a Trustworthy Salesman" Ploy75
"Setting You" on a Car: The Demo Ride75
The Old Confuse-Them-and-Control-the-Sale Ploy76
Justifying the Sale77
The Ploy of Bringing You to Their Reality78
The "Other Customer" Ploy80
The Old "Lease 'Em a Car Instead" Ploy81
The Return of Balloon Payments82
Chapter 4Dealerships' Favorite Selling Systems on the Showroom Floor and on the Web83
The "T.O." System83
The Four-Square System84
The Note System86
The Tower System87
One Price, No Hassle Systems87
"YoYo" Selling or "Spot" Delivery89
"Credit Doctor" Scams91
The Advent of Major Dealerships Designed Solely for Subprime Borrowers93
Welcome Centers96
Getting a Deposit96
"What 'Unauthorized' Credit Report?"98
The Raise100
Chapter 5A Look in the Mirror: Know Yourself102
"In the Bucket" and "Dipping": The Problem with the Chases104
Singing the Blues: The Trouble with the Allgoods107
The Newest Toy: The Problem with the Estrums111
Facing our Foibles: The Problem with All Car Buyers112
How Naive Are You Really?113
Are You an Impulse Buyer? Impulse Buyers Are Favorite Targets113
What Should You Buy?114
Need Versus Want114
What Can You Really Afford to Pay Per Month?117
New Versus Used: What's Better for You?119
American Versus Foreign: Is There a Meaningful Difference?125
Will You Be "Trading Down"?126
Things that Impress and Terrify Salesmen: Traits You Can Cultivate127
Taking Control and Staying in Charge127
Wariness on the Web129
Lack of Enthusiasm130
Non-Romantic Attitudes131
Steel Boots Prevent Shot Feet131
Chapter 6Know Your Present Car132
Do Three Wrights Make a Wrong?132
The Previous Sections of This Book Haven't Exactly Added to the Romance and Mystique of Auto Transaction134
The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same135
Doing It Right in the Brave New Automotive World135
Making Your Current Car Worth More136
Is Your Old Vehicle a Popular Vehicle?138
What's Your Car's Mileage?139
Computing Your Old Car's Wholesale Value139
How to Determine the Wholesale Value of Your Car142
Shopping for Wholesale Value the Wright Way143
Become a Road Hog for a Day145
Options for Shopping Wholesale Value on the Web146
Individual Dealer Web Sites146
Established Used-Vehicle Market Guides Online148
Other Automotive Sites That Will "Appraise" Your Vehicle149
Car Depreciation Calculators149
Calculate Your Equity in Your Car's Wholesale Value150
Why Fool with Your Old Car? Give It Away as a Tax Deduction!150
Should You Retail Your Car Yourself?151
How to Retail a Vehicle158
Your Hour on the Stage163
Chapter 7Dollars and Non-Sense: Or, What You'd Better Know About Financing, Even If You Pay Cash164
Could This Really Happen to You?177
Is The Car Business Really This Relentless in Ripping Every Penny From Even the Poorest Customer?177
Won't Financing on the Web Save Me from This?178
Some Other Creepy Realities You Need to Think About180
Your Credit History Isn't What You Think It Is180
What Are Your Financing Sources?186
Uncle Festus or Aunt Bea186
Cash Value in Your Life Insurance186
A Home Equity Line of Credit186
Credit Unions187
Brand Name Prime Banks192
Online Loan Companies and Services193
The "Captive" Sources194
New Dealerships Discover Buy Here-Pay Here198
Stand Alone Buy Here-Pay Here Used Car Operations199
Title Loan Operations200
I've Decided to Pay Cash and I'm Using a Web Service201
Should You Buy Credit Life or Disability Insurance?201
Okay, Let's Find the Cheapest and Best Loan204
And a Poke in the Eye, Too206
Chapter 8How Much Car Can You Afford?207
The Concept of "Available Cash"207
Test Time!210
Auto Sellers Want You to Look at the Money Differently211
Developing Your Available Cash Figure Based on Your Own Budget and Assets214
How Much Money Should You Finance on a Particular Car? What Down Payment Is Best?216
How Much Down Payment Is Enough?217
What Is the Minimum Down Payment Possible on a New Vehicle?217
What Is the Minimum Down Payment Possible on a Used Vehicle?218
Determining Available Cash for Different Buying Situations218
If You Plan to Buy a New or Used Vehicle and Have No Trade219
If You Plan to Buy a New or Used Vehicle and Have a Debt-Free Trade219
If You Plan to Buy a New or Used Vehicle and Owe Money on Your Trade220
Next Steps223
Chapter 9The Big Fantasy: Automobile Advertising and Sales Events224
The Many Moods of Advertising: What's Your Fantasy?225
Did You Hear the Funny One About Truth in Automobile Advertising?228
The Special Millenium Edition Auto Advertising Parlor Game231
Now to the Parlor Game232
Do Car People Ever, Ever Have Real Sales?237
Is There an Easier Time to Buy?237
So Are There Any "Best Times" to Buy a Car?239
Part IIBattle Time241
Chapter 10Battle Time or Dueling with Killer, a Moral Tale, Sort Of243
Chapter 11Shopping for a New Car the Right Way Whether You Plan to Buy at a Dealership or Online255
What Do Vehicles Really Cost?256
Dealer Invoice256
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)257
Dealer's Sticker257
Choosing Dealerships for Shopping, Buying, and Service259
Tips for Choosing a Dealership259
Why Can't I Skip Dealerships and the Web Entirely?261
Does It Make Sense to Order a Car Rather Than Buy From Stock?262
Ordering at a Dealership262
Ordering a Vehicle Online263
What About Buying "Demos," "Demonstrators," "Executive," or "Program" Cars?263
Thinking About a Truck or Full-Size Van?264
Researching Vehicles That Fit Your Budget264
Are You Planning to Buy on the Web?267
Dealership Shopping If You Plan to Buy a New Vehicle268
What Do Those Pretty Rides Cost the Dealer?270
What the Dealership Actually Paid270
Chapter 12Shopping If You Plan to Buy a Used Car or Used Truck at the Dealership or Online273
Preparing to Shop274
Money! Why All This Work Is Worth It277
Why Buying Used Is Harder277
Five Discomfiting Variables277
The Importance of "Loan Value"278
Used-Vehicle Sources: From the Internet to Aunt Wilma and Her Neighbor280
Used Vehicle Sources on the Web283
Other Offline Sources285
Using a Telephone "Service" to Locate Your Car288
Checking Out a Used Vehicle288
Researching Specific Used Vehicles That Fit Your Budget and Needs290
Chapter 13Negotiating for a New Vehicle at the Dealership293
"Just What Is a Fair Deal? How Do I Know When to Say Yes?"293
Handling High-Pressure Techniques295
Your Hour Upon the Stage: The Importance of Play-Acting300
Doing It by the Numbers If You're Buying New300
Here's the Scenario301
Dealing with the Store304
Chapter 14Negotiating for a Used Vehicle at the Dealership308
"Just What Is a Fair Deal? How Do I Know When to Say Yes?"309
Handling High-Pressure Techniques309
Your Hour Upon the Stage: The Importance of Play-Acting311
Doing It by the Numbers If You're Buying Used311
Here's the Scenario312
Dealing with the Store314
Chapter 15Negotiating Online for a New or Used Vehicle318
A Tangled Web318
How to Buy a New Car, Click by Click, on the Web327
Negotiating for a Used Vehicle, Step-by-Step, on the Web333
Chapter 16Leasing a Vehicle338
The Good and, oh, So Bad of Leasing342
Just What Is a Lease?343
What Happens When You Buy?343
Leasing the Same Car344
Enter the Real World344
Who's Making the Big Profits Here? The Leasing Companies or the Dealerships?345
Lease Terminology Adds to the Budget Carnage347
The Deliberate Lack of Understandable "Back End Clauses" Compounds the Carnage347
Then There's "Flipping"348
"Assuming Leasing Can Still Be a Good Deal at Times, How Do I Know If It's Made for Me?"349
Are There Tax Advantages to Leasing?351
Are There Many Leasing Companies out There?351
Are There Different Types of Leases out There?352
Leasing Terminology353
Leasing the Right Way357
What About Leasing Used Cars?365
If Your Present Car Is a Lease Vehicle365
Chapter 17Lomax367
How to Figure Loan Cash From a Payment377
Using the Chart to Determine Payments379
Automotive Manufacturers Web Site Addresses379
Web Site Addresses for Captive Financing Companies382
Warranties, New and Used382
What About New-Car Service Contracts383
Used Car Warranties from Best to Worst385
A Note on Deposits387
Used-Car Service Agreements387
Negotiating for Vehicles in Other Buying Scenarios388
Cars Rented by Major Rental Companies394
Checking Out a Used Car or Used Truck398
Personal Used Car Checklist398

See also: Bayou Cookbook or Enoteca

How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing

Author: James A Whittaker

Practical tutorial on how to actually do testing by presenting numerous "attacks" you can perform to test your software for bugs.

  • Practical approach has little or no theory, but shows real ways effectively test software—accessible to beginners and seasoned testers.
  • The author is well known and respected as an industry consultant and speaker.
  • Uses market leading, and immediately identifiable, software applications as examples to show bugs and techniques.

How to Break Software is a departure from conventional testing in which testers prepare a written test plan and then use it as a script when testing the software. The testing techniques in this book are as flexible as conventional testing is rigid. And flexibility is needed in software projects in which requirements can change, bugs can become features and schedule pressures often force plans to be reassessed. Software testing is not such an exact science that one can determine what to test in advance and then execute the plan and be done with it. Instead of a plan, intelligence, insight, experience and a "nose for where the bugs are hiding" should guide testers. This book helps testers develop this insight. The techniques presented in this book not only allow testers to go off-script, they encourage them to do so. Don't blindly follow a document that may be out of date and that was written before the product was even testable. Instead, use your head! Open your eyes! Think a little, test a little and then think a little more. This book does teach planning, but in an "on- the-fly while you are testing" way. It also encourages automation with many repetitive andcomplex tasks that require good tools (one such tool is shipped with this book on the companion CD). However, tools are never used as a replacement for intelligence. Testers do the thinking and use tools to collect data and help them explore applications more efficiently and effectively.

James A. Whittaker is a well-known speaker and consultant, as well as seasoned professor.

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